ART: KZF DESIGN Robert Flischel's handsome photographs look splendid in his books but even better in the large-format prints on display through June at KZF Design in Establishing: Normal: Detail. That's photography talk for what the picture takes in, and Flischel's eye is wonderfully discriminating no matter what range he picks. These pictures are chosen from his books, The University of Cincinnati/Architectural Transformation and Cincinnati Public Schools: Legacy of Art and Architecture. Actual blueprints, some from KZF itself, pleasurably enhance the exhibition. The design firm frequently mounts sophisticated shows in the hallways of its office space and welcomes the public for viewing from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday in the Baldwin Building (655 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams). (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Jane Durrell
ART: LEAPIN LIZARD GALLERY The current Leapin Lizard exhibition, Vault: Lost Projects Resuscitated, carries the same bright tenor as the gallery space and features art objects made by Lizz Godfroy and Anissa Lewis. While several pieces were actively collaborative, both artists' work influenced the other. A group of collages with fable-like text are slight and intimate across one wall.
Several altered mannequins (some made into lights) revive the assemblage characteristics of the aggressive (and in some ways pre-feminist) Nouveau Realisme movement. The real draw for this eclectic exhibition is a series of illumined carousel horses that have been white-washed and fitted with light fixtures. Hung from the ceiling by white cords, these functional sculptures are ghostly, enchanting and reasonably priced. As if chandeliers have started to gallop around the room, these objects are pared down and direct, dismissing a lot of the clutter that recycled art can carry with it. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Get gallery details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Matt Morris
ART: PHYLLIS WESTON-ANNIE BOLLING GALLERY presents Walking Is Still Honest, an exhibition that uses miniatures and theoretical diagrams to encourage the abstract. See Matt Morris' review here.
ONSTAGE: LA BOHEME Opera's evergreen favorite and inspiration for the hit musical Rent offers a heady mix of love at first sight, love regained and struggling artists set in the most romantic of settings. Puccini's score brims with high spirits, poignant longing and tragedy. CCM's production staged by guest director Chuck Hudson updates the setting to the creative ferment of 1890s Paris. Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel are sculpting, Isadora Duncan is dancing, and Gustav Eiffel is constructing his famous tower for the Paris World's Fair. The doomed love affair between the poet Rudolfo and the seamstress Mimi never fails to grab the heart, along with the antics of the four bohemians and good-time girl Musetta. Thursday-Sunday in the Corbett Auditorium. $15-$27. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Anne Arenstein
COMEDY: JON FISCH "I was in a convenient store," Jon Fisch tells an audience, "and there was a sign by the magazine rack — 'no reading' — so I took a bunch of candy bars up to the counter and I asked the guy that was working there, 'Which one of these is a Snickers?' And he says, 'I don't know, I'm not allowed to read either." While that is one of the Boston native's most popular jokes, he has moved on to more personal material. "I've found I'll write an observational joke about something I've seen that I don't really have any attachment to," he explains, "and I get the joy of getting that laugh, but after the newness of the joke is gone, I tend to get bored with those. I really write stuff (now) about my life, my relationships, and I kind of need to have some attachment to it in order to keep telling it night after night." Fisch performs 8 p.m. Thursday and Sunday at Go Bananas in Montgomery. $8-$12. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — P.F. Wilson
ONSTAGE: LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT Well, sure, all our families have their twitches and oddball characters, but few of them get turned into classic theater the way Eugene O'Neill translated his clan into the Tyrones in Long Day's Journey into Night, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play written in 1940 that still feels real and immediate. Cincinnati Shakespeare's production presents a cast that knows something about theater, the stock in trade of James Tyrone (played by onetime Cincinnati Playhouse Ebenezer Scrooge, Joneal Joplin), and his wife Mary (CEA Hall of Famer Dale Hodges), left to sit around and wait while he toured in second-rate productions, full of loneliness that drove her to drugs. The Tyrones' sons are Jamey (Matt Johnson), who has followed his father's model when it comes to drinking, and the sensitive Edmund (Rob Jansen), a character O'Neill modeled on himself. This foursome knows exactly how to manipulate one another — and how to get under one another's skin, just the way it happens in real families, but amplified by dramatic characters and O'Neill's poetically searing script. This is a long sit in the theater (a shade over three hours), but it's some of the finest acting seen on a Cincinnati stage this season. 7:30 p.m. $20-$26. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Rick Pender
EVENTS: STORYCORPS Listening to old recordings of normal people talking about life can be a strange experience. It's like giving people in the past a chance to again be part of the present, but then that makes you a part of the future. Trippy, eh? This month a national initiative to record the real stories of older family members and friends, called StoryCorps, will set up soundproof booths at the Cincinnati Museum Center looking for the oral histories that will one day define late-20th-century America. A trained facilitator will help generate a list of questions and guide you through the discussion with the charming old person in your life that you might actually not know that much about. Today's international ruckus is sure to make these 40-minute sessions of interest to the people who finally solve all the problems we're creating. $10 suggested donation. There is a welcoming ceremony hosted by 91.7 WVXU at 10:15 a.m. Thursday at the Museum Center. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Through June 7. Interview sessions are available by reservation: 800-850-4406. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Danny Cross
ONSTAGE: GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS reveals a dog-eat-dog world full of testosterone at the New Edgecliff Theatre. See Rick Pender's review here.
MUSIC: ANN DRISCOLL Singer/songwriter Ann Driscoll is a Cincinnati native who's currently studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. But, at age 20, her songwriting already possesses the kind of wisdom, originality and maturity that can't be learned in college. She began her musical career in earnest just three years ago and her direct Indie Pop sound helped put her on bills with local favorites like Peter Adams and Katie Redier, as well as nationally acclaimed Rock bands like The High Strung. Driscoll's self-released, self-titled EP is an engaging exhibition of blunt, catchy (but not predictable) Pop, with vocals that recall pre-blatant-sex-kitten Liz Phair and a writing style that is obviously informed by prime influences like The Beatles and Nirvana. Berklee must be on summer break, because Driscoll is returning to the local stage this week, performing at the Southgate House's parlour room Friday with local singer/songwriter Molly Sullivan. 8:30 p.m. $5-$8. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Mike Breen
COMEDY: JOSH SNEED Josh Sneed decided making people laugh was more fun than making toothpaste or detergent, and now his persistence and vision is paying off. A wannabe stand-up comedian, Sneed quit his well-paying day job at Procter & Gamble to hit the road and perform at comedy clubs nationwide. Eventually, the local boy rose through his new profession enough to become the opening act for headliners like Lewis Black, Dave Chappelle and Dane Cook. Now Sneed has really hit a milestone — he is recording his first-ever comedy CD this weekend. The best material and audience reactions from Sneed's performances at 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Go Bananas comedy club in Montgomery will be used for the new release. $12. (Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Kevin Osborne
ONSTAGE: THE CINCINNATI MAY FESTIVAL, Cincinnati's longest continuous choral festival, runs through Sunday. See Brian Baker's preview here.
MUSIC: THE AVETT BROTHERS support their 10th CD release, Emotionalism, at the Southgate House. See interview here.
LITERARY: GARTH STEIN Maybe it's only through the eyes of another creature that we can truly distill the essence of what it means to be human. In Garth Stein's novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain, a mutt named Enzo is our faithful and insightful narrator, who, on the evening of his death, replays the incidents of his life through the tragedies and triumphs of his beloved owner and up-and-coming racecar driver, Denny Swift. Enzo is a philosopher with Zen-like sensibilities trapped in the body of a dog. Without opposable thumbs and without the ability to speak, he believes that after he dies, his soul will come back to Earth as a human. He spends his days obsessing over the human condition, absorbing all the information he can through Denny, nature programs and racing on TV. Almost every chapter is sandwiched between an account of the events in Denny's life, including his wife's death and a narrated snapshot of a race. "This book is about pushing the limits," Stein says. "The limits of a car, the limits of a driver, the limits of dogness and humanity, the limits of fatherhood and family. I think it's very important to take charge of your life, not to feel like you're a victim of circumstance or fate, but that you are an active participant in your future. It's not a new idea: 'And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make,' (Lennon/McCartney). Where I focus my energy always matches what comes back to me in my life." Stein stops by Joseph-Beth Booksellers at 7 p.m. Monday. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Maija Zummo
EVENTS: AT THE DEATH HOUSE DOOR SCREENING The documentary At the Death House Door looks at the death penalty in the state of Texas through the eyes of Pastor Carroll Pickett, who served 15 years as the death house chaplain in Huntsville, Tex., and presided over 95 executions. Included in the film are some of the audiotape accounts of Pickett's thoughts and reactions made after every execution. Following the investigation by the Chicago Tribune reporters who turned up evidence that strongly supports this position, the film raises serious questions about the use of the death penalty in the U.S. Two free screenings are open to the public: 7 p.m. Tuesday at Thomas More College's Holbrook Student Center and 7 p.m. May 22 at UC's MainStreet Cinema in the Tangeman Center. (Get details and find nearby bars and restaurants here.) — Margo Pierce